What type of run for snowy winters?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Meesh, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Hi, I am tormenting myself deciding which type of run to build. This would be in addition to a free range area, and a proper henhouse.

    Choice A:
    Hoop coop out of cattle panels. I would be able to put a tarp over it for winter and shadecloth for summer. However, it would not be very tall inside (it would go to 5.5' at the middle, but I'm taller than that). It would be harder to rake out, cuz I'm tall. It would end up being about 10' x 12'.

    Choice B:
    Standard box shaped run. I already have a fenced corner that I can use, so half of it would be nearly done. It would be about 16' x 16' with 8' sides.

    HELP! What should I do? Adding to my stress - cattle panels are on sale for a couple more days - 30% off.

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  2. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Well, people I know who use tarps here in maine have trouble with them collapsing/breaking with the weight of the snow. We have a covered run (clear cheap polycarbonate panels) and it works GREAT. (edited to add: my friends' tarps collapse because it is difficult to get the secured tightly enough that they don't sag a little, and collect snow, water, ice, and sag more, and eventually fail....)

    Can you make your run long and thin rather than square? I see you already have it partway done, but......If you make it about 6.5 feet wide and however long, you can get the proper pitch to use 8' sections of roofing material. The stuff we used is super lightweight so the run structure doesn't need to be any stronger than if it was just a wire run. It's called SunTuf. You could also use that corrugated metal roofing from Home Depot, it's also pretty lightweight. But the key to using these light materials in heavy snow is you need enough roof pitch, I think. Here's ours:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  3. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Choice A would be ideal with a cattle panel hoop run. Instead of doing single panels, which doesn't leave much head room, you could attach two panels along the short sides with heavy-ish wire, we used a spool of electric fence wire.

    That's how we built our main run and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    ***Clickable thumbnails***

    2 panels wired together...

    [​IMG]

    After I finished covering each double panel with chicken wire, Skip used the SawzAll to trim sections of wire from the bottom ends of the panels. Then we pounded each end in to the ground.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Doubled sections being erected...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finished run with tarp...

    [​IMG]

    Pix of the complete building process...Playhouse/Cattle panel run.

    The run is 18' x 18' and pretty tall. Skip is right around 6' tall and needs a ladder to touch the upper run area in the center. We had about 2 - 3" of snow last night/this morning and the snow hasn't been able to collect on the tarp at all because of the hoo-factor.

    Hope this helps!

    Dawn

    Edited to add: cattle panels were on sale when we decided to build this way, also. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Now that's a great idea! I will have to tell my tarp-using friends...
     
  5. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Thanks -

    Seachick, your design is so pretty, but I can't likely put in a solid roof for a few years. We may move the whole chicken setup, so I need to keep it uncomplicated for now.

    Dawn, thanks for posting. I have looked at your photos several times, though you posted some here that I hadn't looked at yet. I suppose even if I end up using the rectangular area, I could put in a small tunnel for the chickens.

    Hmmmm. I looked at building a half hoop type of design, that would take 12' length of cattle panel, and could be 8' wide and 8' tall. That could go against the existing fence...

    Too many choices, my head hurts!

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  6. doc_gonzo

    doc_gonzo Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2007
    Evening Shade, Ar
    i have to add one comment to dawn's explanation of our cattle pannel run and playhouse coop. the higher quality tarp you use the better off you are. we went with a cheap tarp and we will be replacing it this spring. it did allow us to find the spots along the cattle pannels where we will have to add padding thus giving the tarp even better longevity.

    cheers,
    doc
     
  7. pattycake

    pattycake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2007
    fingerlakes, ny
    I didn't want to put in a solid roof, but eventually I just had to because of how incredibly wet my run was getting. My tarps just blew right off.

    I ended up totally enclosing my run with plastic sheeting nailed down and plywood and corrugated panels on the roof. I wish I'd designed it better! It isn't pretty like SeaChicks -- looks like a chicken getto! [​IMG]
     

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